The recent ransomware attacks on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ) and the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) is a testament to the sophistication and aggressiveness of cybercrime in South Africa.
In response to these attacks, organisations need to devise a preventative plan of action.
“With South Africa having the third-highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide, and the biggest threat being ransomware, businesses are prone to being victims of ransomware traps unknowingly. In such cases, cyber-criminals pose as credible agencies with the intent of luring organisations to their demise,” says Maeson Maherry, CEO and co-founder of LAWtrust.
What are Ransomware Attacks?
Ransomware attacks are cyberattacks where a cybercriminal accesses and encrypts the victim’s data through malware. Cyber-criminals then demand a ransom to decrypt the data to be readable and accessible. This is essentially a type of cyberextortion.
According to Commvault, a recognised global enterprise leader in Intelligent Data Services across on-premises, cloud, and SaaS environments, 70% of ransomware attacks include a threat to leak exfiltrated data. As a result of the ransomware attack, organisations that have been attacked will encounter about 21 days of downtime.
“Preventative measures need to be in place because ransomware attacks are still active and no solutions are being implemented to prevent rather than remediate such instances. It is really the basics that are going to save us,” adds Maherry.
How to Protect Your Business Against Ransomware
Moreover, there are ways to protect your business against ransomware attacks.
These include regularly updated back-ups, using antivirus packages that have ransomware spotting features, using security tools that prevent intrusion and detecting traffic into your business’ network, and training your staff to recognize suspicious emails.
Cybercriminals acquire access to your organisation’s data through email phishing, lack of multi-factor authentication, and unpatched public-facing systems.
Both large and small businesses cannot afford to live under the illusion of being untouchable against such attacks. Ransomware attacks are becoming more sophisticated than ever. A cyber-criminal can clean all traces and leave no speck of their criminal activity.
“These protective measures guard your organisation against malware that subtly creeps into your system and exposes your organisation to ransomware attacks,” concludes Maherry.